I’m going for maximum enjoyment on this hike.
This morning that looks like two cups of coffee and adding freeze dried strawberries to my blueberry granola. Living large!
I am though. Did I tell you about all the fruits and veg I packed out? When I left Hilary the other day I was carrying: an apple, avocado, red pepper, 1 1/2 cucumbers, and a bag of cherries. They all pack fairly well, I’m really impressed with the cherries…Day 4 and they aren’t smooshed despite my packing techniques.
Since my goal is to enjoy two months of living along the AT, I’m going to live it up.
Some call it #platinumblazing
Actually I think platinum blazing is supposed to mean doing fancy things all the time like staying in hotels and eating good food…I will be the more dirtbag version.
I wrote the above on the morning of Day 4 before leaving camp. Good morning entries will have a much different feel than grumpy morning entries, or tired morning entries. For example I’m writing this now on the morning of Day 5 when I keep finding bug bites everywhere. I am covered in bites and have no idea where they are coming from, and yesterday’s insane rocks reintroduced the AT ache in my feet.
I guess this is an itchy and annoyed morning entry? Oh wait, I haven’t had my two cups of coffee…stay tuned.
Everything was wet. I waited for the steady rain that fell overnight to wane before emerging from the dry. So good news: the tent holds up well in constant rain.
The morning was misty…perfect moose weather, but no moose sighted yet. I walked along Rainbow Stream and stopped often to watch the water flow through blocks of rocks. Kirk would love this little creek and all its water features. I need to get him over to the NE for some adventures…off the AT…he’s not a nerd for trails like I am.
I stopped for a morning break at the next shelter and find 17. He got wet last night, and was using the shelter to dry some stuff out. We had a good chat…he’s thinking of turning around (not enough food) and climbing Katadhin instead. I have a feeling this will be the first of many backpacking adventures for 17…I can tell he has the stoke.
As I was getting ready to keep on keeping on, a trail maintainer walked up to check on the shelter. Thanks for all you do!!!
The name of the game here is to go slow. Not because my legs are quivering masses of jello on the insanely steep climbs and descents, but because the rocks, roots, and mud will take you down without a second thought if you don’t think. It really is one step at a time out here, and today the steps were steep.
Speaking of steps, I’m still finding immense pleasure in not having to think about where to go. The AT is the ultimate in a well-marked trail. I can let my mind wander and every once in a while look for that iconic white blaze on a tree, and am reassured that I didn’t wander down a creek thinking it was trail (a real risk out here for sometimes the creeks are trails). When my head is down and I’m sweating through another meham of roots, the blazes lead me to the next gap in the forest and the rest of the trail.
Ok, Onward. A rare road crossing provided just what I needed: a big patch of sun. The clouds have finally blown off, and a wooden bridge gave me the perfect dry spot to hang out all my wet gear. Thru-hiking tip #4: Never pass up a patch of sun when you have wet things.
As I lumbered on, the next section the trail circled Crescent Lake and started the climb up Nesuntabunt Mountain. I passed the sobo hiker Bilbo who was taking advantage of a rare bar of cell signal at a lookout point, and kept going to the top. A short side trail led to a view over to Katadhin, and another sobo (flipflopper) Kool-aid was there. I ate my lunch of tuna packet and avocado and did a little cell phone checking of my own.
Then the crazy stairs happened. Some of the rock work on the AT is out of this world, and the descent off of Nesuntabunt was straight down wet rock stairs. Going down wasn’t much fun…I almost prefer steep uphills to these downhills which can blow your knees out fast.
The rest of the afternoon I got stumbly…the tiredness in my legs was making it harder and harder to make the steps…and each step had some kind of obstacle to navigate around. This hiking might not be demanding to navigate, but it was demanding to walk.
Camp came just in time. I walked through the scene of a lord of the flies rampage…teenage boys and their stuff was everywhere…it might have been a sweet-natured boyscout troop, but the chaos of voices and gear drove me to hide out on the side of the camp and pitch my tent away from the scene.
Oh my, this is my day five morning entry, and I’m still alive.